People have managed projects throughout history without the management infrastructure we have today that allows us to pursue best practice. Sometimes we need to stop and thank the pioneers for this new world.
I was saddened earlier this month to hear of the unexpected passing of Brian Kooyman, whose official title was ‘Director of Global Business at Tracey Brunstrom & Hammond Group’ (one of Australia’s largest independent and privately owned project management companies), but whose unofficial title would probably read something like ‘project management guru and pioneer’.
Kooyman was instrumental in the genesis of professional project management as we know it today. In the 1970s he was heavily involved in the formation of the Project Managers Forum, which later became Australia’s peak body for project management—the Australian Institute of Project Management—and had a hand in everything from the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge to overseeing Australia’s first competency standards.
I interviewed Kooyman a few years ago, when the AIPM bestowed upon him a Life Fellowship, and what struck me most about him was his generosity when it came to giving to the project management community. Despite an illustrious career that included projects such as the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and Melbourne’s Federation Square, it was Kooyman’s willingness to share his knowledge with others that will be remembered.
I didn’t mean for this to become a eulogy, but I did want to take a moment to reflect on the professional life of one of project management’s pioneers to thank him for his insights and contributions and recognise his tireless dedication to building project management to what it is today. I urge you to take a moment out of your day to thank your mentor, your guru, too—whoever that may be. I think we can all agree that life would be more complicated without project management as we know it.